Cut the Unspecified Swearword!
Take this article, about the Forest Gate raid. The article states that "the family of one of those arrested" is making a complaint against the police. Very little ambiguity about what is going on.
The police then give their comment, confirming that a complaint has been received "in relation to the search of a property in south London". As if by being vague, they can somehow preserve the secrecy of the investigation. This sums up our organisation.
Police officers should always bear in mind that questions from members of public are a hindrance to our investigations, as is press coverage. Neither help us get detections, nor arrests, and will only land us in trouble for blurting out the wrong thing. Moreover, questions from the public are against the Data Protection Act.
If asked a question by a member of public, even if the answer is readily apparent to anyone with eyes, use one of the following Home Office approved responses:
- "An incident has occurred which is under police investigation."
- "A man or woman is being held in connection with a criminal offence."
- "A police operation is underway."
- "I cannot discuss an ongoing investigation."
- "Move along. Nothing to see here."
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